NFL Coach Of The Year Odds: Browns Kevin Stefanski Passes Dan Campbell
Lions head coach Dan Campbell is no longer the favorite for 2023 Coach of the Year odds. NFL Week 17 odds suggest the Lions defense is about to get pummeled by the Cowboys. A few other coaches, like new favorite Kevin Stefanski, have clear paths to snatch this award from Campbell. Let’s dissect NFL Coach of the Year odds and see if the Browns head coach can win.
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the top threat: Kevin Stefanski
Stefanski has guided the Browns to an incredible season despite the raw deal he was given with Deshaun Watson. The Browns are 10-5 and on the cusp of winning 12 games for the first time since 1986, when they finished 12-4 under Marty Schottenheimer. In fact, this is the first time the Browns have won double-digit games since 2020, when Stefanski took home COY. Winning double-digit games would be quite the feat, given the team lost Deshaun Watson for the season in Week 10 and top cornerback Denzel Ward missed four games with a shoulder injury.
Additionally, the team lost Nick Chubb for the season with a knee injury after just two games, causing Stefanski to change his entire game plan. In 2021 and 2022, with a healthy Chubb pacing their ground attack, the Browns finished with the fifth-fewest and 12th-fewest pass attempts per game in the NFL. With the Chubb injury and the addition of elite (wink wink) 38-year-old quarterback Joe Flacco, the Browns are averaging 37.9 pass attempts per game, the third-highest rate in the league.
Good play callers and head coaches, for that matter, make adjustments in-season to deal with adversity, and this is the best display of coaching brilliance since the Vikings went 13-3 with Case Keenum under center in 2017. That year, the Vikings beat the New Orleans Saints on the “Minneapolis Miracle” in the divisional round of the playoffs. The quarterbacks coach for the Vikings that season? Stefanski.
Would the voters give Stefanski COY again, though? The answer is unequivocally yes. Since 2000, three coaches have won this award on numerous occasions: Bill Belichick (2003, 2007, & 2010), Brue Arians (2012, 2014), and Ron Rivera (2013, 2015). Stefanski isn’t the “traditional” coach of the year candidate since he isn’t likely to win his division. However, that didn’t deter voters from giving him the award in 2020 when the Browns finished third in the AFC North, and the team wildly exceeded expectations.
Lastly, if NFL Week 17 odds are correct and we are to assume the Lions are very likely to win and the Browns are likely to lose, where will COY odds sit on Monday? Stefanski could very well be a minus favorite at this point next week. Better yet, what happens to this market after Saturday night if the Cowboys throttle the Lions? Does DraftKings and others move Stefanski to the favorite over Campbell?
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FALLING STARs: SHANE STEICHEN and demeco Ryans
Steichen COY odds gained a lot of steam after they throttled the Steelers 30-13 in Week 15; then, Steichen’s squad was dump-trucked by Arthur Smith and the Falcons. As a result, the team needs to win out and needs Jacksonville to lose one of their remaining games for the Colts to win the AFC South. Asking the Panthers or Titans to knock off the Jaguars is difficult, but anything can happen (see Raiders vs. Chiefs).
Of the last ten winners of this award, seven coaches have won their division. If Steichen can guide the Colts to a division title, he still has a slim shot. He’ll have maneuvered the team through the injury to Anthony Richardson and the Jonathan Taylor contract issues at the beginning of the season. The only other coach to guide their team through more adversity will have been Stefanski.
Meanwhile, Demeco Ryans and the Texans have sputtered, losing two of their last three games. Their 30-6 loss to the Jets saw both C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. leave the game early with injuries, putting them in a tough position down the stretch. But, their loss to the Browns on Sunday may have tanked Ryans’ chances to win COY and, in turn, handed the award on a silver platter to Stefanski.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON NFL Coach of the Year ODDS
Even if Steichen or Ryans can steal the division crown from Jacksonville, I struggle to believe voters will give the AFC South winner COY after Stefanski’s achievements. Guiding the Browns to a playoff berth with a quarterback fresh off his living room sofa is unprecedented territory.
Unless Campbell can walk into AT&T Stadium and pull off the upset Saturday, I view this as Stefanski’s to lose. Even if he loses one more game, I think he still takes home his second Coach of the Year award. It’s been an impressive coaching performance as he steered the Browns over countless speedbumps this season.
Best of luck betting NFL Coach of the Year odds!
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